Topic Overview

This week’s class topic provides an overview of bureaucracies, both in higher educational institutions and beyond. Bolman & Deal begin the discussion by examining the eight structural dilemmas that organizations are often faced. Bolman & Deal explore Mitzenberg’s five-sector logo and Helgeson’s Web of Inclusion as options for organization design. In the Mintzberg reading we are introduced to the idea of Professional Bureaucracy, a large and semi-autonomous operating core full of standardization, and inflexibility. Dill’s article brings the ideas from Mintzberg and others into the realm of higher education and focuses on the administrative behaviors of those who work in higher education.The Weber reading breaks down the characteristics of bureaucracy and explains the position of the official.

Bolman & Deal: Chapter 4

Structuring and restructuring is an ongoing struggle that organizations at some point must face. At any given time, an organization is working to create a satisfactory system to create a harmony between the organization and the changing environment.

Bolman and Deal begin the chapter by describing eight structural dilemmas: Differentiation vs integration, gap vs overlap, underuse vs overload, lack of clarity vs lack of creativity, excessive autonomy vs excessive interdependence, too loose vs too tight, goalless vs goalbound, and irresponsible vs unresponsive. The chapter then describes two designs that organizations can use to align their goals with the environment. The first design is Henry Mitzenberg's five-sector logo, which describes how the size and influence of different groups within the organization respond to goals and the environment (see below). Within Mitzenberg's Fives are five structural configurations: Simple structure, machine bureaucracy, professional bureaucracy, divisionalized form, and adhocracy (described below). The other design organizations use is Helgeson's Web of Inclusion, which fosters relationships and builds an organization from the center out.

Eventually internal or external forces will cause an organization to restructure. Bolman and Deal state that it is important that all individuals negotiate a structure that satisfies each group of an organization while adapting to the changing environment (Bolman and Deal, 2008). Organizations will feel the need to restructure when they are faced with various pressures such as; the shifting environment, technological changes, organizational growth, and leadership change. Miller and Freisen (1984) state that organizations that find themselves in trouble when restructuring fall into one of three categories: The impulsive firm, the stagnant bureaucracy, and the headless giant. Although restructuring is high-risk and prone to resistance, it is essential to the success of an organization due to the changing environment.

Key Terminology

Term or Concept
Explanation and Examples
Mitzenber five-sector model
The model describes how the size and influence of different groups within the organization respond to goals and the environment. Organizations are formed of five main parts: operating core, strategic apex, middle-line managers, technostructure, and support staff.

Simple Structure
A structure containing only a strategic apex and operating level. Usually run by direct supervision and little or no technostructure. Example: Mom and pop stores.

Machine Bureaucracy
A highly specialized structure with formalized procedures and dominate technostructure. Example: McDonalds.

p. 80,81
Professional Bureaucracy
A structure that features a large operating core when standardization of skills. Emphasis on professional authority- "the power of expertise." Example: Harvard University

Divisionalized Form
A structure composed of semi-autonomous units, with horizontally diversified products or services. Example: Hewlett-Packard

Loose, organic structure with little formalization of behavior and job specialization based on formal training. You can usually find these structures in chaotic or changing times. Example: Advertising agencies.

Helgeson's Web of Inclusion
An organic organization where the management puts itself in the middle of the structure rather than the top. Communication is open and relationships are fostered.

Mintzberg: BB

The Professional Bureaucracy
Mintzberg argues that the central feature of the Professional Bureaucracy is the large and semi-autonomous operating core. The operating core of the professional bureaucracy is largely trained and indoctrinated outside of the organization, Mintzberg refers to this as the standardization of skills. In a sense, individuals largely (but not solely) bring their skills with them to an organization, instead of learning them at the organization. (For example, doctors, teachers and lawyers are hired by hospitals, schools and law firms having already learned their basic skills.) Once employed, professionals use their skills, this requires a great deal of discretion on the part of the professional, namely how, when and where to use the various skills he knows. However, professionals are not simply free to practice their craft. Professionals learn to deal with contingencies, or problems of people they are trying to help (i.e. sick patient, disruptive student, a man accused of homicide) where they then apply a ready made set of procedures which they have learned (a certain cure, a punishment, a defense). Mintzberg calls this pigeonholing, and it is the basis of the actions of a Professional Bureaucracy. There are two parts, the first is the diagnosis, where the contingency is identified, and the second where the remedy is applied. These professionals apply a standard repertoire of programs to their clients, who are people seeking their expertise (i.e. patients, students, plaintiffs/defendants). The remedies, along with the problems/ailments themselves, are perceived by the professional as having the ability to be defined and labeled in ready made categories. This allows for the tasks of the Professional Bureaucracy to be simplified and executed easily, it also allows for professionals to concentrate solely on their craft and not have to worry about coordination with other colleagues (a process that Mintzberg calls decoupling). While it is fundamental to the operating of a Professional Bureaucracy, Mintzberg notes that the Pigeonholing system can impede operations because all situations are thought to have a standard, predetermined solution. Pigeonholing can really distort the of the professionals and clients.

The Professional Bureaucracy configuration leads to a highly educated operating core but one with an aversion to supervision. The leader of a Professional Bureaucracy cannot simply give commands and expect them to be obeyed. The autonomy created by the professionals' level of skill and training pose a clear obstacle to leadership. Thus, professional administrators must rely heavily on coordination and compromise, (i.e. coordinating activities between professionals.) They handle discrepancies that arise from the imperfect pigeonholing process. They act as a liaison between the organization and the outside world (i.e. government officials). Reminiscent of the social contract, professionals must surrender some of this autonomy to a leader if he wants to be able to concentrate solely on his craft, and in turn the leader must deal with the problems that the professional has turned away from. Mintzberg argues that the administrators power mainly rests at this locus of this uncertainty, at the point that the professional has abandoned for the comfort of his craft. Mintzberg argues that leaders of professional bureaucracies are not powerless, their leadership is just more nuanced.

Some problems also arise inside and outside of the Professional Bureaucracy. An internal problem arises from problems of discretion. Simply put, professionals can be incompetent or unwilling to update their skills to deal with problems. Another major problem is the problem of innovation. The rearranging of the pigeonholes is necessary to innovate, yet this is a very difficult process for entrenched professionals who abhor supervision and outside control and who would rather fit new problems into old pigeonholes. Also, there is usually a slack organizational loyalty on the part of professionals, who adhere more to their craft than their organization. This can lead to an undermining of the whole or suboptimiztion and problems of coordination. Outside organizations, such as policy makers, may then try to remedy these perceived problems. They usually try to standardize the work done by the professional or the expected outputs, and they try to tighten supervision. However, due to the complexity of the work, excess standardization and supervision can only impede the professional and move the Professional Bureaucracy toward a Machine Bureaucracy. True change can only come from a change in the training process. In sum, the Professional Bureaucracy is marked by the autonomy of its operating members, and while this autonomy allows for more democratic working environments and decentralization, this very decentralization can become an impediment for effective leadership and organizational direction.

Key Terminology

Term or Concept
Explanation and Examples
Standardization of Skills
Professionals are trained outside of the places where they practice their skills (i.e. universities, medical schools, law schools) and they bring there skills with them
pg. 51
When professionals apply standard measures to contingencies or what they perceive as ready-made problems and the subsequent execution of those remedies. This is the foundation of the Professional Bureaucracy (i.e. when a public school classifies students as struggling readers due to standardized test scores, and each student is then given certain remedy to meliorate the problem)
pg. 52-53
People who seek the expertise of professionals (i.e. students, patients, accused)
pg. 53
When individual tasks are given to subordinate members of an organization as a result of specialization (i.e. history faculty, education faculty in a university)
pg. 53
A problem or situation that a client brings to the professional for which the professional diagnoses and apply s a standard remedy to (i.e. heart disease or DWI)
pg. 53
Professional Administrator
Leader of a Professional Bureaucracy. This entails a more nuanced style of leadership, based more on compromise and coordination, representation to the outside world (such as politicians) and the handling of problems that arise of pigeonholing (i.e. university president who settles a dispute between the humanities and physics department)
pg. 58
Problems of Discretion
Problems resulting from the incompetence or unwillingness of professionals (i.e. a teacher who entered the profession simply to have summers off and thus does not truly care about students
pg. 65
Problems of Coordination
Problems resulting from the coordination of autonomous professionals and the subsequent gaps that arise between the pigeonholes (i.e. a professor who wants to a study a field that falls between two disciplines and thus is denied tenure)
pg. 65
Problems of Innovation
New institutional directions and programs which may be necessary but are hard to guide because of the autonomy of the professionals and their entrenched beliefs regarding their craft (i.e. a burnt out teacher who refuses to incorporate technology because he does not understand it and it is not how he was taught)
pg. 66

Dill: BB

The Nature of Administrative Behavior in Higher Education
In looking at Administrative Behavior, Dill created a review of the topical studies that have been completed in Higher Education. It is important to take into account the timeframe of this review, written in 1984 as talk about what is "currently" being done. However, Dill draws the necessity of understanding Administrative Behavior, as important to understand before productive gains in application can be made for organizational structure and management technology.

Utilizing a conceptual framework derived from Katz (1974) and Mintzberg (see above), Dill(1984) provides insight into the variety of influences that contribute to the administrative behaviors for academic administration. In the discussion/conclusion sections, Dill focuses on differences in environmental contexts and research methods contribute to a wide range of responses by higher education administrators. Dill shows the research conducted has lead to 3 major reasons for improved understanding of administrative behaviors; 1. sophisticated information systems that are planned without sufficient attention to the needs and working habits of academic administrators appear to make little impact; 2. since human beings need and seek meaning, an important part of academic administration involves the creation and maintenance of academic beliefs; and 3. interpersonal relationship and skills are an important part of management in organizations that depend for their effectiveness on the talent of individuals (Dill, 1984). Dill also suggest further research be done to understand administrative action and its consequences in different settings.

Dill's review of the different roles of an administrator focus largely on the ability of an individual to interact with others as research suggested that they spend over 40% of their times in meetings, usually with two or more people (Dill, 1984). In focusing on this interaction Dill reviewed the different behavioral aspects of Katz; human relations, conceptual skills and technical skills for administrators in comparison with Mintzberg's empirically derived categories (Peer-related, leadership, conflict-resolution, information related, decision making, resource allocation, entrepreneurial, . introspective and Profession-related behaviors).

Dill reveals that academic managers often utilize their time similar to managers in general in that they; 1. perform a great quantity of work at a continual pace; 2. carry out activities characterized by variety, fragmentation, and brevity; 3. prefer issues that are current, specific , and ad hoc; 4. demonstrate a preference for verbal media; and 5. develop informal information systems (Dill, 1984). Additionally, Dill recognizes that academic administrators sometimes fulfill multiple roles in an organization leading to different demands on their time and their approach to interaction with those around them.

To conclude, Dill shows that while much is known about the basics of administrative behavior, that more research should be done in order to identify the most efficient processes for work to be completed in the administrative positions at academic institutions.

Key Terminology

Term or Concept
Explanation and Examples
Administrative Behavior
"The behavior of those within the boundaries of the organization that occupy administrative positions"

Further developed it focuses on how a person in a management position interacts within the organization environment.
P. 94
Katz's Human Relation Skills
Correlated with Mintzberg's Peer-related Behavior, Leadership Behavior and Conflict-resolution Behavior

Focuses on the interaction of the administrator with the organization members around him/her.
Katz's Conceptual Skills
Mintzberg's Information-related behavior, Decision-making behavior, Resource Allocation Behavior, Entrepreneurial Behavior and Introspective behavior

Focuses on the "strategic thinking" demands on an administrator.
Katz's Technical Skills
Profession-related behavior

Focuses on the expertise of the administrator and the ability for an administrator to administrate.
P. 94

Weber: BB


The Bureaucracy reading by Max Weber is a breakdown of his characteristics of bureaucracy. Weber presents six characteristics of bureaucracy. The following can best summarize the six characteristics and were clarified from the reading during the group activity on February 9:

1. Activities are governed by rules and regulations.
2. A firmly ordered hierarchy governs the office.
3. The files of the office are maintained in original form.
4. Management skills are highly valued.
5. The official is expected to perform at 100% even if other responsibilities exist.
6. Management follows rules that can be learned.

The second part of the chapter explained the position of the official. The first section talks about office holding as a vocation. This section goes on to talk about how the acceptance of the position of an official requires efficient management, which then will result in a secure position. The second section lays out in five parts, how the official’s position is patterned:

1. The official typically will have a different social esteem compared with those below him/her.
2. The type of bureaucratic official is decided by a superior authority.
3. Tenure for life is assumed for most public bureaucracies.
4. The official will be compensated monetarily and receive a pension.
5. The official will move up the order of hierarchy through the lower paid levels up to the higher ranks.

Key Terminology

Term or Concept
Explanation and Examples
Government characterized by specialization of functions, adherence to fixed rules and a hierarchy of authority (i.e. military)
Government officials; people elected or appointed to administer a government (US government)
The classification of a group of people according to ability or to economic, social, or professional standing (i.e. org chart)
One who holds or is invested with an office

Class Notes


(10 minutes) Housekeeping—overview of latest Class Notes
(30 minutes) Walkabout with Weber
(30 minutes) Bureaucracy Debate
(15 minutes) Break
(30 minutes) Mintzberg—discussion
(30 minutes) Case Study Analysis

Walk about with Weber

A "Walk About" in the School of Ed to discuss Weber and the following questions.

1) What are the main characteristics of bureaucracy?
Paper trails
Specific skills training especially for higher ups
2) How does current context/technology shift Weber’s concepts?
Modern day paper trails = emails
3) What is the current role of “educational certificates” for work qualifications?
Weber's definition = degrees
Today’s definition = different than a degree in the traditional sense
Degrees are significant, but it may not matter so much about the degree as long as you can do the job
-Do degrees still have the same meaning they used to?
-How has the job market changed in having minimum degree requirements?
-ie. Masters degree, college degree, 2 year degree, HS degree
What about if you’ve had many years between your degree and where you are….what about lifelong learning?
What is learning? What is expert? Who gets to decide?
Understanding the language is important because the language has changed since when Weber wrote this
Universities push these certificates as a validation for what we are doing
4) How might a post-modernist view “expert power?”
Not accepting of this, power too centralized

Class Question: Was Weber was very well received when he originally published this piece?
Yes - Forward way of thinking of organization
Patriarchal vs. hierarchical

Bureaucracy Debate
The class broke up into two groups and debated the pros and cons of bureaucracy. Below is a summary of the debate results.

Pro Bureaucracy
Against Bureaucracy
General Overview
-Bureaucracies are efficient and necessary so that when problems do occur in the organization we can make sure that things get fixed
-Bureaucracies offer a frame that no matter what is going on a leader can step in and take over no matter the issue at hand.
-Work well in crisis, emergency situations
-There are clearly defined roles; people always know what to do
-Clear defined goals, rules help keep goals in check
-When key responsibilities are given less things tend to fall through the cracks
-By giving people specific jobs they are able to gain their best potential
-Bureaucracies are:
-Limits innovation
-Stifles creativity
-Wastes time/inefficient
-Lack of freedom
-Lack of communication
-They allow for pigeonholes
-This creates low morale among members
-Slow to respond to change
Examples of slowing respond to change:
-Katrina – through the government and through Higher Education
How does your philosophical
frame impact your arguments?
-Postmodernists would be less thrilled about bureaucracy
because there is lack of freedom
Frames of reference:
Positivist: great, rules, structure
Social constructivist: so many things can fit, it can work here and work there
Postmodernist: lack of freedom, communication
What type of leader
flourishes in this frame?
-Charismatic: Helps contribute to success, because if the charisma fails then the
bureaucracy can back you up) vs. dry: people you don’t want to listen to but you have to because they are in power
-Those who command authority
-Military personnel would be successful in this organization structure
-The more successful the leader is in gaining the groups support the more successful the organization will be
-Leadership structure:
-There is a role for everyone in the bureaucracy:
-At the top – someone who can delegate
-In the middle – someone who wants to get things done
-Women at the center of organizations with a
system of support around them (female centered)
-“Web of inclusion”
-Dr. Ginger Ambler example - how she surrounds
herself with a knowledgeable staff that is aware of the surroundings and organizations they are working with

Mintzberg Discussion

As a class we discussed the Mintzberg article and in particular how this relates to education, particularly Higher Education.

•Discuss the models Mintzberg presents and their advantages/disadvantages
•Is the Professional Bureaucracy model still viable?

Class Discussion about decreasing tenured faculty positions
•What about changes in faculty roles/numbers?
Tenured faculty decrease, increase in contract short term faculty
What happens now that this “base” of what was once tenured faculty and is now adjunct faculty?
-top gets bigger
Professional identity shift– faculty associate more with the field rather than the institution
-How does a faculty member introduce themselves? (Higher Ed faculty? W&M faculty? School of Ed faculty?)
-Pam = social constructivist…depends on where she is (on campus she says School of Ed, off campus – W&M)
Do adjuncts associate more with the field since they don’t have a loyalty to/identify with the institution?
Does this shift move more to a mechanistic style?
-Adjuncts may have less resources available, lack of office space, lack of copiers
•What about calls by the government for accountability?
•What impact does the recent recession have?
Migel example in article
All about $$: because we have less we can do less
Administrative roles vs. faculty roles – who is more important?
-Donors also can influence this impact (they donate the money and they have a place where they want the money to go)

•Is Helgeson’s model a viable alternative for education?
Spider web idea
Women centered: Ginger Ambler example (she is surrounded by colleagues who are supportive and help to advise her)
Helps to get out of your office and find out what is going on around you and outside of your office

Case Study Analysis

The class read the HDCC Community College Case Study and discussed the following questions in small groups.

What were the central ideas? (below are a few ideas from the class)
No money
Lack of resources
Automatic cutting rather than looking at alternatives
Lack of communication
Lack of inclusion

What were the secondary ideas? (below are a few ideas from the class)
How to get “off jeopardy”
Continual evaluation
Lack of communication, faculty doesn’t understand what changes are being made
Low enrollment – is this because they aren’t offering what is needed? Or are you focusing on areas (online) that may be unnecessary?
Auxiliary unit losing money

•Apply the structural/bureaucratic frame for analysis
Bureaucratic frame: rules & processes

•Identify potential alternatives
•Consider assumptions
Is the golf course a necessity?
If there were 14 programs cut, why were their no faculty cuts as well?
Why the push for 4 year programs? 

External Resources

Mickey D training film <http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=UTMwXU2YbI4>
Mickey D custodial video http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=UoBc-eNZO6k>

These video's are training video's from McDonald's from the 1970s. While they are good for a chuckle, they highlight the contrast between the autonomy of the operating core in the professional bureaucracy and the lack of autonomy in the machine bureaucracy. In addition, in the custodial video, there is a detailed part on how to wash the bathroom. This is reminiscent of Frederick Taylor's theories of breaking down all tasks in order to better observe and correct them.

Another good source is the work Academic Capitalism and the New Economy by Shelia Slaughter and Gary Rhodes, 2004. While most of the book is outside the purvey of this wiki, there is a very relevant section regarding public and private spaces in academia. Weber emphasizes the distinction between public and private in rational-legal or bureaucratic form. However, one of the themes of Rhodes and Slaughter's work is the blurring of this distinction due to the changing nature of academia, which is beginning to resemble the corporate world (i.e. colleges can profit from taxpayer funds).

The attached article attempts to describe how relationships between faculty and administrators and collective bargaining affect the structure and characteristics of universities and colleges.

The attached article, AAHE-ERIC/Higher Education Research Report, describes the organizational setting of work on campus from the academic dean to the support staff. Do you believe that colleges and Universities are bureaucratic in structure and political in nature? How so?